Mathura: Puranas signify the Uniqueness of Mathura which is called with varying names like Madhupatra, Madhupuri, Mathura or Madhura as this was described in Itihasas was rid ofthe torments by Madhu Daitya by Shatrughna the younger brother of Lord Shri Rama of Ramayana and more so as the Sacred Place of Bhagavan Krishna. Varaha Purana describes: Na vidyate cha Patale nantirikshe na maanushe, Samaanam Mathurayaahi priyam mama Vasundhare/ Saa ramyaa cha sushastaa cha janmabhumistathaa mama/ (There is no other more beloved Tirtha like Mathura for me even better than those in Patala, Antariksha or Bhuloka) Maha maghyam Prayage tu yat phalam labhate Narah, Tat phalam labhate Devi Madhuraayaam dine dine/ ( The same fruitful results that one could reap at Prayaga the Sangama Place of Three Holy Rivers of Ganga-Jamuna-Saraswati on Magha Month’s Pournami is normally available each day at Mathura) Purna Varha sahasram tu Varanasyaam hi yat phalam, Tat phala labhate Devi Madhraayaam kshanamna hi/ (Residing thousand years at Kasi is considered as fruitful as a ‘Kshana’ or a moment at Mathura). Similarly, the visit to Pushkara Tirtha and stay there on Kartika Pournami is indeed fruitful and that would bless a person to accomplish with Mathura Yatra. Vishnu Purana also describes that snana and darshana of Mathura Krishna on Janmashtami, Yama Dwiteeya, and Jyeshta Shukla Dwadashi are considered to be of great consequence. Vajramandali has twelve Sacred ‘Vanas’ viz. Madhunvana, Kumudavana, Kamyakavana, Bahula vana, Bhadravana, Swadiravana, Shrivana, Mahavana, Lohajinghvana, Bilvavana, Bhandiravana, and the most popular Brindavana. While each of these Vanas have their own significance, indeed Brindavana is of utmost prominence. Padma Purana underlines the special status of Bridavana: Guhyad guhyatamam ramyam madhyam Brindaavanam Bhuvi, Aksharam Paramanandam Govindasthaanamavyayam/ (Brindavana on Earth indeed is the body of Bhagavan Srikrishna itself and is seat full of joyof and even the touch of the dust would pave the way for salvation. When asked about the way to attain ukti, Bhagavan Krishna smilingly replied that let ‘Vraja raja’ or the dust from Vraja Bhumi may fall on your head! The old name of Madhura was Madhuvana where in the days of yore Swayambhu Manu’s grandson Dhruva who sparks on the sky as a Star was directed by Narada Muni to perform severe Tapasya stating Punyam Madhuvanam yatra saannidhyam nityadaa Hareyh! and Bhagavan Vishnu blessed him to attain stardom! Madhura on its banks flows Yamuna River and as many as twenty four main ‘ghats’ are spread out like Vishrama Ghat, Prayaga ghat, Kankhala ghat, Bindu ghat, Bangali ghat, Surya ghat, Chintamani ghat, Dhruva ghat, Rishi ghat, Moksha ghat, Koti ghat, Brahma ghat, Ganesa ghat, Manasa ghat, Dashashwamedha ghat, Chakra tirtha ghat, Krishna ganga ghat, Soma tirtha ghat, Brahma loka ghat, Ghantaabharana ghat, Dharapatana ghat, Sangama Tirtha ghat, Nava Tirtha ghat, and Asikunda ghat Each of these Ghats has an episode to describe such as Vishrama ghat where Krishna and Balarama rested for a while King Kamsa was killed; Asikunda Ghat is renowned as Varaha Kshetra and so on. On all the four sides of Mathura are four Shiva Mandiras viz. Bhuteshwara in the Western side, Pippaleshwar on the Eatern side, Rangeshwar on the Southern side andon the Northern side is Gokarneshara. Dwarakaadheshwara is the most well known Mandir.Besides the other Mandirs are Gatathama Narayana, Vaaraaha, Govinda Mandirs and so on. Mathura Pradakshina or Parikrama is applauded in Varaha Purana: Mathuraam samanuprapya yastu kuryaat Pradakshinam, Pradakshini kruta tena Sapta Dwipa Vasundhara/ (Those who reach Mathura is perform a parikrama are stated to have performed the same around Sapta Dwipas from Vasundhara or Earth).
Brindavana: About 8 km from Mathura is Brindavan comfortably reachable by motor and on way one could see Gita Mandir. Many perform Parikrama to Brindavan daily too. Brahma Vaivarta Purana details the origin of Brindavan that in the Satya Yuga King Kedar’s daughter Brinda performed intense Tapasya to attain Krishna Bhagavan [ mortal Krishna was an Incarnation in Dwapara Yuga] and Bhagavan blessed Brinda with his darshan and Brinda Devi was the principal figure in the Rasa Leelas stated to have been performed with Brinda at Brindavana by Lord Krishna the Avatar in Dwapara Yuga.The significant places on the banks of the Sacred Yamuna River are Kaliya Hrada at Nandanavana where Bala Krishna punished Kaliya serpent; Yugala ghat where Yugala Kishora Mandir with Radha Krishna Idols are present; Radhavallabha Mandir with swaambhu Shalagrama shila, Shri Ranga Mandir, Govinda Deva Mandir, Shahji Mandir, Biharji Mandir of Thakur, Krishna Balarama Mandir (Iscon), Madan Mohan (Chaitanya Maha Prabhu) Mandir, Garud Govinda Mandir, Jaipur Mandir, Radha Damodar Mandir, Radha Ras Bihari Ashta Sakhi Mandir,Kesi Ghat where Krishna decimated Kesi demon etc.Not far from Brindavan are Gokula, Mahavana, Baladeva, Nandagaon and Govardhana some 10 km from Mathura. Vraja Desha Parikrama stated to be of 84 kms of distance with a duration of 16 days would witness among others Madhuvan, Talavan, Kumudvan, Danvaktra dhwamsa, Vallabhavana, Radhakund, Govardhana, Paraseeli which Vallabhachaya followers consider this Place as Bridavana, Kamavana, etc.